A free full version of the CAD program Solidworks? The correct answer to the question would be “Yes, but …” or “No, but …” depending on your point of view.
SolidWorks is an industrial-grade 3D CAD Software for engineers. Its feature set encompasses both solid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE). And, of course, Solidworks’ full version is not free.
Luckily (here’s the but), there are fully functional Solidworks free trial versions you can test before you buy it. And just in case the price tag is out of your budget, check out the best free Solidworks alternatives.
SolidWorks’ publisher, French industrial company Dassault Systèmes, keeps a close eye on whoever wants to test drive their software. Therefore, there are no direct download links on their website. Instead, you need to request the Solidworks free trial version via a form on the company’s website.
After signing up, you receive a message informing you that a sale’s representative will contact you via the email address you provided.
At the time of writing, Dassault Systèmes offers three different educational packages of Solidworks for universities and students. If you are enlisted at a university and fulfill the requirements, you can request the Student Edition. It is a 12-month term-of-use license and is available as a download or DVD. This version is reasonably priced at 150$. You can register for it here.
In case you don’t want to wait for a salesman to contact you, you can register for a free trial of MySolidWorks, the online version of SolidWorks and try the Online Premium Edition anywhere, anytime and on any device through MySolidWorks without any downloading or software installation.
Besides the software itself, MySolidWorks offers CAD models, 100s of videos, training materials and forums. You can even connect to an online storage account (Google Drive, Dropbox). This is advised, as all files you save locally will be erased when your session ends or times out.
As can be expected from a cutting-edge CAD program, the software brings mature parametric modeling to the table. Simply put, this enables users to make substantial revisions of their designs by changing numerical values. To set up a design for this feature, you need to define constraints, or rules, that govern its structure. (Eg. the number of pipes, the length of legs, the angles of a taper.)
Thanks to its simulation capabilities, SolidWorks frees you from time-consuming and costly prototyping. To give an example, in SolidWorks you can assemble a multitude of parts virtually. This allows you to study possible interferences between the parts before even leaving your chair.
The rich feature set of SolidWorks is geared towards experts in diverse fields like the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, industrial equipment, architecture as well as the medical and energy sector.
If the $4,000 price tag is out of your range, there are a number of free CAD Software solutions that offer comparable features. The most notable among them are OnShape, FreeCAD, and LibreCAD.
For information on even more free CAD Software, check out our article, 30 Best Free CAD Software Tools 2019 (2D/3D CAD Programs)
OnShape is a freemium engineering grade CAD suite developed by former SolidWorks staff members. Just like this program, it seeks to integrate the entire engineering workflow into one program. Its comprehensive feature set lends you the full might of parametric modeling and the option to simulate assemblies of complex multi-part-designs.
Another strength lies in OnShape’s collaborative capabilities. This CAD software is available as a cloud service. You can work on up to ten projects simultaneously for free.
You can sign up for the free version here.
FreeCAD is an open-source and highly extensible 3D CAD software that is available for free download. Its range of features can even stand comparison with commercial software like SolidWorks since it offers full parametric modeling. It may not look as slick as the commercial alternatives, but it gets the job done easily.
The modular architecture makes FreeCAD’s invaluable in many engineering and architecture workflows. To give an example, it lets you perform sophisticated simulations such as self-weight analysis.
SolveSpace is another free 2D/3D CAD software. The common denominator with SolidWorks is its parametric modeling feature allowing you to easily modify your design.
For a free program its simulation capabilities are quite impressive as it brings simulation of possible blockages, and inconsistencies in your designs early in the design process. This will save you time and reduce your level of frustration.
Click here to download it for free.
License: The text of "2019 SolidWorks Free Download – Is There a Free Full Version?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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